Party in the Park aims to involve students

    Student groups and clubs will be gathering in the Park Blocks this week to recruit new students and to party.

    Free pizza, soda and cookies will be provided at the 16th annual Portland State Party in the Park, taking place in the South Park Blocks on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Portland State student groups the Pacific Islanders Club, the Vagabond Opera and the Breakin’ Club will all be giving live performances.

    ”The event is the only chance for all student groups to be seen in one place at one time,” said Michelle Wells McIlvoy, a graduate assistant in the Student Activities and Leadership Program (SALP) and one of the event’s organizers.

    Anousa Sengsavanh, a peer adviser for SALP, said it is hard for student groups to recruit new members as it gets later in the school year. At this event, he said they typically get 3,000 to 4,000 students or more.

    Wells McIlvoy said that Portland State administrators will serve as celebrity hosts, handing out pizza and soda to students. In addition, she said that the easy access and large time frame of the event will allow people to come between or after classes. Wells McIlvoy said the party is a long-standing tradition and said she wants all students to come.

    Wells McIlvoy said she thinks Party in the Park is the best way for all the groups to showcase themselves and to allow students to understand the involvement opportunities on campus.

Alex Accetta, coordinator of Campus Recreation, said there will be a rock wall up, tennis tables, rowing machines and more.

    ”We know that when students get involved they tend to do better academically,” Accetta said. “So we help them with this event because it is the best opportunity for students to find out how to get engaged on campus.”

    Leanne Serbulo, a SALP peer adviser, said events like Party in the Park in small college towns are not as important as they are at Portland State.

    ”Portland is so large that you need this kind of atmosphere to unify the campus,” Serbulo said.

    ”A lot of times when there are events on campus, they are only catered to one sector. So this is a fun way to peak interest to all students,” said Kayla Goldfarb, who also works as a peer adviser for SALP. “This event is one of the largest events on campus, if not the largest, because it’s the beginning of the year and everybody comes out to see whether you can really enjoy this year.”

    Sengsavanh said SALP plans to have as many student groups as they can at the event tabling and recruiting students to join student groups. She said Party in the Park is a great way to get information out to students.

    ”Hopefully, it is more focused on the student groups,” Sengsavanh said. “This year, there will be some new departments out there, getting their information out.”

    Goldfarb said that this year painters, character drawers and other unique entertainers will be working their art for the students who attend the event. “We are really stoked about the Vagabond Opera. It is a six-piece, local band entertainment and it is hard to get that kind of stuff for free in Portland,” she said.

    Victor Sin, a psychology student and member of the Breakin’ Club, said he hopes to entertain the campus community with this unique style of dance, and to promote the cultural diversity that PSU has to offer through the Breakin’ Club.

    ”It’s also a great way to visit with old friends and meet new ones, eat a wonderful lunch and see some high-quality entertainment,” Serbulo said. “Party in the Park is a great way to celebrate the beginning of a new school year.”

    The event is co-sponsored by SALP and Campus Recreation.